May 29, 2011

Game Design Via Random Dream

I rarely remember my dreams, but often, when I wake up slightly, my brain takes some part of a story from a dream and keeps telling it, onward and onward, and I have a hint of what I was dreaming about from that.

Apparently last night I was having a pretty interesting dream, because I woke up remembering a pretty badass premise for an adventure game, which I will share with you now.

I was in a hospital of some sort. It seemed to be a hospital for treating people with various “special” abilities. I didn’t have any of these abilities except one: anything I saw written on an official form became real. The hospital got hit with some sort of supernatural attack, and I was trying to escape because I was trapped in the hospital. However, I kept stealing forms. I’d fill my name in as a doctor on a form, and suddenly everyone would think I was one of the doctors. I’d fill in a form that diagnosed me with other supernatural powers (the one in the dream was seeing the future) and then I had them.

As I woke up, I started to flesh out this concept outside of dream logic. I’d have seen several forms that, basically, I needed to reverse or destroy because someone was using me. I would have seen a form that caused the hospital to be under attack by things like ghosts. I would have seen a death certificate of close friends and family that I would need to reverse. Finally, I’d have to, of course, figure out how to reverse the forms that got me committed to this place in the first place.

I think I vaguely mentioned this yesterday, but low power, high restriction magic is really cool. There’s something awesome about having to take a seemingly narrow-focused ability and use it to solve a variety of problems. I think this whole “form” mechanic really fits that, and my subconscious dream-brain really picked a perfect setting for having a lot of forms lying about to try to play around with. Of course, to be really cool, the game would have to have a lot of forms that did a lot of things that weren’t really important to solving any puzzles or progressing, which would be a potential problem. There could be a ton of different gamestates at any time, and narrowing it too much so there’s not as many gamestate possibilities kind of hurts the fun of the entire thing.

Thankfully, I don’t really have to make this game. But I thought it a neat idea my dream-brain had, so I thought I’d share.

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